Welcome to the Department of Justice, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

For immediate release --September 21, 2001.
Contact Bob Brammer, 515-281-6699

Iowa Crisis Response Team Going to New York City

Attorney General's Crime Victim Assistance Division is leading eight-person Iowa team that will spend next week in NYC.

DES MOINES-- An eight-person Iowa "Crisis Response Team" will go to New York City this weekend to assist in helping communities there cope with the emotional trauma resulting from the terrorist attacks on September 11. The group will spend a week in New York at the request of the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA), which is working with officials in New York and the U.S. Office for Victims of Crime to coordinate response.

The Iowa Crisis Response Team is led by the Crime Victim Assistance Division of the Iowa Attorney General's Office. The eight members are among about 65 Iowans from various disciplines who have been trained in at least a 40-hour community crisis response curriculum and ongoing follow-up training.

The Iowa Team will learn its specific location and duties upon arrival in New York. The group could be assigned to work directly with survivors, with neighborhoods or community groups, or with other professionals. Crisis response teams often provide local mental health workers with training in how to conduct the ongoing special work of helping a community recover from major crimes or disasters. (The teams are not involved in the immediate public safety response of firefighters or law enforcement.) The Iowa team will assist local care givers.

Members of this Iowa Crisis Response Team are: Marti Anderson, Des Moines, Director of the Attorney General's Crime Victim Assistance Division (CVAD); Alison Whall, Des Moines, Education Coordinator, CVAD; Kirstin Lippincott, Des Moines, Quality Control Investigator, CVAD; John Harrell, Des Moines, Chaplain for Mercy Hospital; Betty Brown, Des Moines, Administrator of Victim and Restorative Justice Programs, Iowa Department of Corrections; Diane Tonkyn, Iowa City, Family Therapist at United Action for Youth; Kim Vrieze, Orange City, Victim-Witness Coordinator, Sioux County Attorney's Office; Laura Scheffert James, Waterloo, Community Treatment Coordinator, Iowa Department of Corrections. (See additional details on team members on separate sheet.)

Alison Whall is the designated Team Leader for the group. Whall also is coordinator of the overall Iowa Crisis Response Team, a group of about 60 trained volunteers coordinated by the Crime Victim Assistance Division of the Iowa Attorney General's Office.

Attorney General Tom Miller said: "We are pleased that we are prepared to make this contribution to recovery in New York. We thank the volunteers who are going, and we wish them all good fortune in this important work."


The full Iowa Crisis Response Team consists of about 60 Iowa volunteers from various disciplines, including victim advocates, mental health professionals, child psychologists, educators, health professionals, clergy persons, and peace officers. All have completed extensive training in the special task of serving communities in the wake of a crime-related disaster. Iowa Response Team individuals have responded to community crime-related trauma situations in Salt Lake City, Little Rock AR, and several locations in Iowa including Marshalltown, Woodward, and Ft. Dodge.

Specific Iowa response teams can be assembled on 24-hours' notice. When the disaster hit New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania last week, the full roster of volunteers was notified and put on alert in case Iowa was asked to send a unit. On Wednesday, NOVA requested an Iowa unit for next week, and the eight members were designated by late Thursday. The Iowa Team will fly to New York Sunday and is expected to return the following weekend. Volunteers and their Iowa employers contribute their time. Transportation and other costs will be paid by NOVA, the U.S. Office for Victims of Crime, and other sources.

Most details are not known yet on where the Iowa Team will be located and with whom they will be working. The unit will assist at the large memorial service at 6 p.m. Sunday evening. The Iowa Crisis Response Team is prepared to fulfill various functions, including to:

Assist local care givers in planning and implementing immediate and long-range response after a disaster.

Provide emotional respite and support to local care givers.

Provide focused training to mental health professionals or others on immediate crisis response and long-term stress reaction to disaster-related trauma.

Provide "debriefing" or crisis intervention sessions to specific groups (such as survivors, neighborhoods or other local groups) in cooperation with local care givers.

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